Rhythm

The organization of sound patterns.

The Negro Speaks of Rivers

I’ve known rivers:

I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the

flow of human blood in human veins.

 

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

 

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.

I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.

I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.

I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln

went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy

We Lived Happily during the War

And when they bombed other people’s houses, we

 

protested

but not enough, we opposed them but not

 

enough. I was

in my bed, around my bed America

 

was falling: invisible house by invisible house by invisible house —

 

I took a chair outside and watched the sun.

 

In the sixth month

of a disastrous reign in the house of money

 

in the street of money in the city of money in the country of money,

our great country of money, we (forgive us)

39

Oliver Sacks is going to die,

He tells us blithely in the New York Times.

He’s 81. His liver’s shot.

 

He’s blind in one eye

Though when both worked fine

He could still get lost in a parking lot.

 

He’s extremely famous and terribly shy.

He’s lost his leg but it's still attached.

He’s been practicing dying, Oliver Sacks.

 

He will do it well,

Politely evading heaven and hell.

Doctor Oliver Sacks, farewell.

Happy Birthday Moon

Dad reads aloud. I follow his finger across the page.

Sometimes his finger moves past words, tracing white space.

He makes the Moon say something new every night

to his deaf son who slurs his speech.

 

Sometimes his finger moves past words, tracing white space.

Tonight he gives the Moon my name, but I can’t say it,

his deaf son who slurs his speech.

Dad taps the page, says, try again.

 

Tonight he gives the Moon my name, but I can’t say it.

Windrim

To Windrim or sycamore

           rustle cicada or bark and to Wayne

           to rustle and psoas and psoas to Belmont and Germantown hills

hills as to nearer Plateau as to Central and whisper wall Indian

summer to sleeves or the sleeveless groin as to forward

and dog shit and Cliveden to Wieland the whispering creek

as to Windrim

or mounting as Chestnut to backslid

the Juniper Schuylkill

           to boulder the pound to clover mite

vernal or rake as to tendon

exhaust of to Windrim and spare Wissahickon

Other

1

 

Men prefer an island

With its beginning ended:

Undertones of waves

Trees overbended.

 

Men prefer a road

Circling, shell-like

Convex and fossiled

Forever winding inward.

 

Men prefer a woman

Limpid in sunlight

Held as a shell

On a sheltering island…

 

Men prefer an island.

 

2

 

But I am mainland

O I range

From upper country to inner core:

From sageland, brushland, marshland

Embarrased

i thought it was ok - i could understand the reasons

they said there might be young children or a nervous man seeing

this small piece of flesh that they weren’t quite expecting

so i whispered and tiptoed with nervous discretion

 

but after six months of her life spent sitting on lids

as she sips on her milk, nostrils sniffing up shit

banging her head on toilet-roll dispensers

i wonder whether these public-loo feeds offend her

 

Start here: